British and Irish Lions team leaked for first test as Owen Farrell left out
The British and Irish Lions starting XV for their first test against South Africa has been leaked with England captain Owen Farrell not included.
Farrell, who already has four Lions test caps to his name, is reported to be on the bench with the fly-half shirt going to Wales' Dan Biggar and the inside centre position to Ireland's Robbie Henshaw.
One of the biggest surprises is that Alun Wyn Jones, who dislocated his shoulder just over three weeks ago, will start and captain the side on July 24.
Replacement tour captain Conor Murray has been dropped to the bench if the reported team is correct.
The Times say the team is as follows: Hogg; A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Price; W Jones, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, A W Jones, Itoje, Lawes, Curry, Conan.
And on the bench the publication report Warren Gatland has opted for a six-two split as Owens, Sutherland, Sinckler, H Watson, Henderson, Murray and Farrell are named as replacements.
Skipper Jones was involved in the Lions' final warm-up clash against the Stormers on Saturday but only played 27 minutes and so the test will be his first start since his injury.
And, if the report is true, Sinckler may not be in the starting XV but he will feature in the matchday squad after not initially being picked for the tour.
Andrew Porter was named ahead of him but was injured and so Gatland called up Sinckler, who had channelled his Lions rejection into Player of the Match performances for his club Bristol Bears.
His emotional interview about not being included in Gatland's side went viral in May.
He said: "What I wanted to do was lead by example and show the kids. How easy would it have been for me to play the victim, say 'sorry me' and throw my toys out of the pram.
"It's been so tough. I've never experienced anything like this in my whole life.
"I'm just lucky I've got a good support team around me. I wanted to show the kids and everyone at home how much it means to me.
"Do the tough stuff, get on with it, use that anger.
"I've got so much anger in me right now but actually use it in a positive way and do what's best for the team."
The Lions have announced Gatland will reveal his squad 24 hours earlier than planned.
The confirmed line-up will now be announced on Wednesday morning which follows in the Springboks footsteps as they revealed their squad on Tuesday rather than Wednesday.
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has named an experienced side for the first test.
His team is: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, De Klerk; Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Smith.
And the bench lines up as: Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, De Jager, Elstadt, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse.
A huge boost for the Springboks is that they also have a returning captain in Siya Kolisi who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.
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